Sunday 23 January 2011

Macho Macho Man, I want to be a Macho Man

It's 6:30am on Monday 17th January 2011 and I have just jumped out of bed and ran to the lounge to switch my alarm off. I have placed my alarm clock next door as the one on my bedside table has become a pleasant morning murmure nowadays which defeats the object.

Last night my husband Chris and I have measured every inch of our limbs, have taken pictures of our semi nude bodies and recorded it all for posterity. And now, in the sleepy haze of a Monday morning, it's time to put our commitment to the test.

Today is day 1 of a new us.

Ok, I admit it's cliché but I seriously feel that this time it's going to happen. We have purchased a few week ago the P90X training DVDs and in the last few days, have gone food shopping. We have bought all the required food to prepare the nutritionally balanced recipes accompanying the program. We are now ready for the work to begin.

The premise of the program is that in 90 days we will be fitter. The results vary depending on your initial level of fitness but as the many video diaries posted on YouTube will confirm, men of my shape, age and fitness level have achieved incredible results.

I will be 39 years old later on this year. I remember the dreams and hopes I once had as a young man. I remember the goals that I use to set myself. I remember accomplishing, to a varying degres of succes, most of them but I am also quite aware that defined pectoral muscles, a flat and sculpted stomach topped by solid biceps were the items never checked on that list.

So for this reason alone and, I admit, the curiosity of knowing whether gay men are as fickle as they are reported to be, we are embarking on an intense training. I will personally conduct the necessary research afterwards to confirm or deny the rumour that muscles will indeed get you laid. The time constraint of the training, the cooking and the sleeping required will force me to remove myself from most of my social life for the next 3 months. I will endeavour to keep a record of my progress on a regular basis even if it's simply to reinforce publicly my pledge that failure is not an option. If all they want from me is 90 days of sweat, tears, pain, aches and bruises then where do I sign?

So it's 6:30 am, and I am feeding Jake and Oscar (our cats) before preparing fresh strawberries and cottage cheese for our 'pre-training' snack. At 7am, Chris and I are ready and the docile voice of Tony (the instructor) welcomes us to the training with some stretches and a warm up. Tony is centre stage with a couple of others in the background. They are friends or previous P90X achievers (lovely bodies).

Day 1: "Chest and Back" (1 hour) and "Abs Ripper" (16 minutes).

This consists of bar exercices such as pull-ups, which I admit not to be very good at. Come to think of it none of the bar exercises were my favourites. All other free weight exercises were much more pleasant if a tad tough. What killed me the most is that we were only given 5 seconds rest between each of them. Tony encourages you to match or increase your number of reps for each exercise from week to week. The session finishes with a welcome 5 minutes stretch before I am due to run, drenched in sweat, to the kitchen to prepare the remaining of our breakfast, this morning a mushroom omelette and make each of our lunches. On my way to work an hour later I can not put out of my mind the fact that on my return tonight, I will have 16 minutes of intense abs' exercises waiting for me.

Day 2: "Pylometrics" (1 hour)

Despite my body starting to ache from yesterday's session, this cardio training was very welcome and enjoyable. My abs are starting to hurt and I know tomorrow it will be even worse.

Day 3: "Shoulder & Arms" (1 hour) and "Abs Ripper" (16 minutes)

This was my favourite so far, still intense but enjoyable. Furthermore my energy seem to know no bounds lately. This is probably due to the many, and time consuming, meals that I am preparing. So far this week, I could be found training in my lounge, at work or stuck in my kitchen but I had no time for anything else. Oh, I need to add that doing abs exercises on extremely sore abs, is not as bad as I thought it would be. Once you're warmed up, they seem to be happy being mistreated again. Thank God!

Day 4: "Yoga" (1h30)

Let's say that I am as flexible as plank of wood. So you can imagine how enjoyable the training was for me. The first part was a lot of breathing and stretches that increased slowly in intensity. Needless to say, half way through I could no longer keep up. When the second part started, about balance, I was relieved until I realised that my balance was also very poor. I was glad when the 90 minutes were up. I however know, that it is probably the training that I really need to concentrate on as I can only benefit from it.

Day 5: "Legs and Back" (1 hour) and "Abs Ripper" (16 minutes)

Unfortunately, the bar exercises came back to haunt me and as I was not able to do more than three at a time (Tony demonstrates 25 reps each time), I decided to go for the alternative option, the resistance bands, which works out the same muscles but in a less agressive way. I am hoping that soon I will be able to get back to the bar once I have stronger muscles.

Day 6: "Kenpo" (1 hour)

This has now become my new favourite. It's a mix of boxing and kick boxing moves. A cardio exercise that keep your heart rate going and makes you sweat like you've never sweated before.

Day 7: "Stretch" (1 hour)

This was very pleasant and a welcome calm training. After the intensity of this week's program my body was happy to be bent and stretched in as many positions as I was guided to perform.

So, it's the end of week 1 of 13. I have lost 2.5Kg and my BMI has lost a point. I am happy with the way things are going as I am aware that I am starting from a very poor level of fitness and things will only get easier. I'm loving it, so my apologies for being anti-social but I am going to ride the wave for as long as possible.